Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is pleased with the development of Thailand's Tokamak I (TT-1) nuclear fusion energy technology, saying it will play an important role in the country's sustainable energy aspirations.
Gen Prayut made his remarks at Government House on Tuesday when Anek Laothamatas, minister of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) and Assoc Prof Thawatchai Onjun, executive director of Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT), gave a presentation on how nuclear fusion energy is developing in Thailand.
Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said the TT-1 is located in Nakhon Nayok province. It was donated by the Institute of Plasma Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) as a gift from China, which was a gesture to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, making Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia that owns a tokamak device, he said.
The TT-1 drives itself using heat from nuclear fusion reactions like what occurs in the Sun, according to the TINT. The device can generate heat up to 100,000 degrees Celsius (°C) when operated, and the temperature can be tipped to reach a million °C in the future.
The spokesman said the Tokamak device would be used to develop one of the country's sustainable energy sources.
In addition, the technology will be able to be applied to industrial, agricultural, and medical sectors, he said.
He said the premier conveyed his thanks to all related parties, including TINT, Synchrotron Light Research Institute, and Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), for cooperating in building a stable energy source and for the development of science and technology to boost the country's competitiveness.
The premier also said importance needs to be placed on producing skilled personnel in the field of fusion technology and boosting the country's capabilities in science and engineering.
He said TT-1 is an alternative energy source to assist with climate concerns as it will produce clean energy which is friendly to the environment and does not produce greenhouse gas emissions.
TINT installed the TT-1 in February this year and successfully tested the system on April 21, which is an important step to proceed with a full operation next month, he said.
In the next 10 years, TINT plans to build the country's first in-house device, which will make the country a hub of fusion technology development, said Mr Anucha.